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English definition of “serve”

serve

verb
 
 
/sɜːv/
FOOD/DRINK [I, T] A2 to give someone food or drink, especially guests or customers in a restaurant or bar: We're not allowed to serve alcohol to anyone under 18.Providing and serving mealsGiving, providing and supplying
SHOP [I, T] B1 to help customers and sell things to them in a shop: Are you being served?Giving, providing and supplyingSelling
WORK [I, T] to do work that helps society, for example in an organization such as the army or the government: to serve in the army to serve on a committee/jury He served as mayor for 5 years.Jobs, careers and professionsWorking
BE USEFUL [I, T] to be useful as something: It's a very entertaining film but it also serves an educational purpose. The spare bedroom also serves as a study. [+ to do sth] He hopes his son's death will serve to warn others about the dangers of owning a gun.Performing a functionFunctioning
PRISON [T] to be in prison for a period of time: Williams, 42, is serving a four-year jail sentence.Putting people in prison
SPORT [I] in a sport such as tennis, the action of throwing the ball up into the air and then hitting it towards the other playerTennis and racket sports
serves one/two/four, etc If an amount of food serves a particular number, it is enough for that number of people. → See also It serves her/him/you right!Meals and parts of meals
(Definition of serve verb from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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